Instead, I believed
them. It stuck in my head as something that was true.
I remember feeling inadequate, and embarrassed, and ashamed, and "not OK", and not really knowing what to do about it. I realized I had quit things and not finished things
and not done things when I "should" have done them, so it must be true, and if I wasn't sure before, I now knew it was not OK.
At about the same time, another adult in my life began reinforcing the same thing. I started taking piano lessons
at age 8, and my teacher was verbally abusive. If I hadn't practiced, or only practiced a little, she would scream at me, ask me what was the matter with me, and likely spewed many unkind words, often having me in tears. I remember very little of
what she said, but I do remember my stomach tying up in knots before walking to her house before each weekly lesson, and I do remember crying on the way home, clearing my tears before I walked in the door so my mother wouldn't see. Still feeling ashamed
and inadequate for my behaviours, I didn't want my mother to get angry at me too. What's the matter with me? Why don't I practice?
Of course, I did do some practice, but since in my mind it was never "enough", or at least wasn't
the amount that I understood that I "should" be doing, it didn't count.
I continued those lessons for 10 years. At some point, the crying stopped, and the yelling by my teacher stopped, but my belief in my inadequacies and weaknesses
And so, with that belief being carried around in my head wherever I went and whatever I did, my journey in life was then frequently defined by noticing and making great significance out of anything that I thought I should
be doing that I wasn't, and by completely dismissing anything else that I was actually doing and finishing. For some reason, all the stuff done and finished didn't count.
And whether it was because of the happenstance of my personal
nature, or because of my belief in my procrastination, or because of my magnificent collection of other acquired beliefs... all of it informed my behaviours and my life. It affected my views and behaviours for arriving on time or not, for
keeping my room or my house clean or not, and for completing the items on my never-ending list of to-dos or not. I wasn't always arriving late, I wasn't always leaving things messy, I wasn't always "mis-managing" the items on my to-do lists, but
every time it appeared as if I did, I saw it as significant, and shameful, and something that was not OK, without any understanding of why I was this way, and why I wasn't able to change it.
Thank goodness all of my belief in
my brokenness wasn't on my mind 24/7.
Fortunately, the human mind has an automatic clearing system. As soon as I would get my thoughts off of myself, being busy at school or work, or involved in some activity, or hanging
out with friends, I would forget all about my brokenness (including my beliefs in procrastination), and I would do stuff and get stuff done. AND, I laughed a lot. For some reason, a lot of funny thoughts would pop into my head that
made me laugh... and they'd give me all sorts of great ideas for amusing and fun stuff to do and say. I revelled in getting to "play" and be creative, never for a moment noticing the significance of the fact that my "brokenness" didn't exist when
my mind wasn't on it.
One of the benefits of humour is that you can often use it to make fun of the truth. And so, probably as a way to cope with my brokenness, I would often make light of some of my perceived weaknesses, including
my perceived procrastination. With a habit of rarely getting holiday and birthday cards into the mailbox with enough time to arrive before the date, and starting a yearly Christmas newsletter for family and friends, I decided to put it together with
an official newsletter format, created by "Procrastination Publications"... "Publications for the Patient"... "The News You Can Wait For"... "Member in Good Standing of the Better Late Than Never Society".